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Wednesday, June 04, 2003

JB

Was Powell Pressured to Use Cooked Intelligence Data?

Reuters reports that he was:

US Secretary of State Colin Powell was under persistent pressure from the Pentagon and White House to include questionable intelligence in his report on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction he delivered at the United Nations last February, a US weekly reported.

US News and World Report magazine said the first draft of the speech was prepared for Powell by Vice President Richard Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, in late January.

According to the report, the draft contained such questionable material that Powell lost his temper, throwing several pages in the air and declaring, "I'm not reading this. This is bullshit."

The White House also pressed Powell to include charges that the suspected leader of the September 11 hijackers, Mohammed Atta, had met in Prague with an Iraqi intelligence officer prior to the attacks, despite a refusal by US and European intelligence agencies to confirm the meeting, the magazine said.
. . .

US News also said that the Defense Intelligence Agency had issued a classified assessment of Iraq's chemical weapons program last September, arguing that "there is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons."

However, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress shortly after that that the Iraqi "regime has amassed large, clandestine stockpiles of chemical weapons, including VX, sarin, cyclosarin, and mustard gas," according to the report.


Another list of quotes and justifications given about weapons of mass destruction, with links to key documents and dossiers, appears here courtesy of Financial Times.


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